Negar Mottahedeh

Associate Professor of Literature

External Address: 
125C Friedl Building (e. Campus), Buchanan and Trinity, Durham, NC 27708-0670
Internal Office Address: 
Box 90670, Durham, NC 27708-0670
(919) 681-3461


I am a cultural critic and theorist specializing in interdisciplinary and feminist contributions to the fields of Middle Eastern Studies and Film and Media Studies. I have published four books on Iranian Cinema, the history of reform, revolution and the uses of social media in protest. My new book "#iranelection: Hashtag Solidarity and the Transformation of Online Life" (Stanford University Press, 2015) is about one such social media mobilization. "#iranelection" follows the protest movement around Iran's fraudulent presidential election in 2009 to investigate how emerging social media platforms developed as a result of the international solidarity around the hashtag. Just as the world turned to social media platforms to understand the events on the ground, social media platforms adapted and developed to accommodate  global activism. "#iranelection" reveals the new online ecology of social protest and offers a prehistory, of sorts, to the uses of hashtags and trending topics, of selfies and avatar activism, citizen journalism and YouTube mashups.

Fluent: English, Farsi (Modern Persian), Norwegian Bokmål and Nynorsk
Proficient: French, German, Arabic (Classical and Modern), Spanish

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., University of Minnesota, Twin Cities 1998

  • M.A., University of Minnesota, Twin Cities 1994

  • B.A., Mount Holyoke College 1990

Mottahedeh, N. "The New Iranian Cinema." Traditions in World Cinema. Ed. L Badley, S Schneider, and RB Palmer. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2006. 176-189. (Essay)

Mottahedeh, N. "Women, Gender and Constituting the Female Body." Iran, Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures. Ed. S Joseph. Leiden, Netherlands: Brill, 2006. (Essay)

Mottahedeh, N. "Memory, Women, and Community: Iran." Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures. Leiden, Netherlands: Brill, 2005. (Essay)

Mottahedeh, N. "Ta'ziyeh: A Twist of History in Everyday Life." The Women of Karbala: Ritual Performance and Symbolic Discourses in Modern Shi'i Islam. Ed. KS Aghaie. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2005. 25-43. (Essay)

Mottahedeh, N. "Body: Female: Iran." Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures. Leiden, Netherlands: Brill, 2005. (Essay)

Mottahedeh, N. "Where are Kiarostami’s Women?." Subtitles: On the Foreignness of Film. Ed. A Egoyan and I Balfour. MIT Press, 2004. 309-333. (Essay)

Mottahedeh, N. "Ruptured Spaces, Effective Histories." Tahirih in History: Perspective on Qurrat al-'Ayn from East and West, Studies in the Babi and Baha’i Religions. Ed. S Afaqi. Kalimat Press, 2004. 203-219. (Essay)

Mottahedeh, N. "Images of Women: [08] Middle East." The Routledge International Encyclopedia of Women: Global Women's Issues and Knowledge. Ed. C Kramarae and D Spender. New York, NY: Routledge, 2000. 1118-1120. (Essay)

Mottahedeh, N. "Bahram Bayza'i: Filmography." Life and Art: The New Iranian Cinema. Ed. R Issa and S Whitaker. London: BFI, 1999. 74-82. (Essay)


Mottahedeh, N. "Picturing Ourselves: 1953, 1979 and 2009." Frontline: Tehran Bureau (2010).

Mottahedeh, N. "Iranian Cinema in the Twentieth Century: A Sensory History." Iranian Studies 42.4 (September 2009): 529-548. Full Text

Mottahedeh, N. "Collection and Recollection: On Studying the Early History of Motion Pictures in Iran." Early Popular Visual Culture 6.2 (June 2008): 103-120.

Mottahedeh, N. "Off the Grid: Reading Iranian Memoirs in Our Time of Total War." Middle East Research and Information Project (September 2004).

Mottahedeh, N. "Christine Jeff's 'Rain': Universality and Narrative Displacement in Cinema." World Order Magazine 35.1 (2004): 33-41.

Mottahedeh, N. "Memory and Gender in Iranian History." (2004). (Academic Article)

Mottahedeh, N. "After Images of a Revolution: On the Work of Shirin Neshat and Gita Hashemi." Radical History Review 86 (2003): 183-192.

Mottahedeh, N. "Bahram Bayzai's * Maybe..Some Other Time: The un-Present-able Iran." Camera Obscura: Feminism, Culture, and Media Studies 15.1 43 (January 1, 2000): 163-191. Full Text

Mottahedeh, N. "Resurrection, Return, Reform: Ta'ziyeh as Model for Early Babi Historiography." Iranian Studies 32.3 (1999): 387-399.


Aftershocks: September 11th. Consultant. (2006)


Film festival at Duke University.

3rd I: Showcasing Latin American Indigenous Films. Consultant. (2004)


Film festival held at Duke University.

Ararda/Between: Turkish film festival panel discussion . Consultant. (2004)


With Demirkubuz

Forget Baghdad. Consultant. (2004)

Full Frame Film Festival. Consultant. (2004)

Hip Hop film series . Consultant. (2004)


Held at Duke University.

Contemporary Iranian Cinema. Consultant. (2003)


Held at Duke University.

Middle Eastern Film Series. Consultant. (2003)


Held at Duke University.

Reel Evil: Films from the Axis of Evil series. Consultant. (2003)


Held at Duke University.